The Blunder Of Woolies

The fallout from the collapse of British retailer Woolworths left one of the U.K.’s biggest record chains with no copies of new albums from top acts including Britney Spears and Take That.

Zavvi, formerly known as Virgin Megastores, has an exclusive supply agreement with EUK, the distribution arm of the Woolworths Group.

However, the Woolworths chain is now in administration and EUK has stopped shipping stock.

Not being able to sell some of the biggest new releases is likely to cost Zavvi hundreds of thousands in lost sales.

Take That’s The Circus album was expected to sell 80,000 copies alone on its first day of release Dec. 1.

Asda supermarket says it sold about 20,000 copies of the album on its release day.

WH Smith’s Web site was also experiencing supply issues Dec. 1 because of its relationship with EUK.

Potential bidders for Woolworths stores have been given until Dec. 4 to submit bids for packages of stores to CBRE, the property agents advising Woolworths’ administrator.

Almost 700 of the Woolworths stores have planning permission to sell food and a number of leading food retailers – believed to include Tesco and Sainsbury’s – have demonstrated their interest.

Wilkinson, another variety store chain, is also believed to have shown interest as have a number of fashion retailers.

The auction is being run by Malcolm Dalgleish, CBRE executive director and adviser to retailers including Sir Philip Green and Marks & Spencer.

“EUK played a valuable and profitable role in the music supply chain and it is very unfortunate that Woolworths’ wider difficulties have dragged it into administration,” said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor in a statement.

“We’ve been advising our members on how they can insulate themselves against the risks of a failure of this type, and over the next few days we will consult further with members as to how they can best respond to this development and ensure continued access to all sectors of retail.”